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Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2018

1 – The world’s oldest known drawing

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The earliest evidence of a drawing made by humans has been found in Blombos Cave in the southern Cape in South Africa. The drawing, which consists of three red lines cross-hatched with six separate lines, was intentionally drawn on a smooth silcrete flake about 73 000 years ago. This predates previous drawing from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30 000 years. Find out more

This is the outside of Blombos Cave in the southern Cape in South Africa. Credit : Magnus Haaland

2 – World’s ‘Oldest Intact Shipwreck’ found in Black Sea

A Greek merchant ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found off the Bulgarian coast in the Black Sea. Find out more

The ship was surveyed and digitally mapped by two remote underwater vehicles. Credit: BLACK SEA MAP/EEF EXPEDITIONS

3 – New Nasca lines found in Peru

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Thanks to the latest advances in space archaeology and aerial drone surveys, archaeologists have discovered 50 new examples of Nasca and Paracas lines in Peru. Some of the discovered lines date from the Nasca culture, however, many ancient lines and geoglyphs are believed to date from between 500 BCE to 200 CE and provide crucial insight into the Paracas and Topara culture. Find out more

Image Credit – CC LIcense – Unukorno

4 – Researchers discover gilded mummy mask

Researchers at the University of Tübingen have discovered a gilded mask on the mummy of a priest in Saqqara, Egypt. It is from the Saite-Persian period (664-404 BCE). The tomb complex where the Tübingen researchers have been working is made up of several shaft tombs, some of them more than thirty meters deep. Over the top of one of the main shafts, the archaeologists found the remains of a rectangular building made of mud brick and irregular limestone blocks; it appears to have been a mummification workshop. Find out more

The Saqqara mask of the second priest of Mut andPriest of Niut-shaes. Photo by University of Tübingen, Ramadan B. Hussein

5 – Painted tomb discovered in Cumae (Italy): A banquet frozen in time

Archaeologists have discovered a series of vaulted burial chambers made of tuff, a volcanic stone in the ancient city of Cumae, located 25 km west of Naples on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Find out more

Image Credit : E. Lupoli, Jean Bérard Centre (CNRS/École française de Rome)

6 – Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years

At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. Find out more

One of the stone structures of the Shubayqa 1 site. The fireplace, where the bread was found, is in the middle. Credit : Photo: Alexis Pantos

7 – Earthquake reveals remains of temple inside Aztec Pyramid

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has led to the discovery of an ancient shrine dedicated to the rain god Tláloc beneath the pyramid of Teopanzolco in Cuernavac, Mexico.

The discovery was made when researchers of the Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) carried out radar surveys to asses the pyramid’s damage and found a 6 by 4-metre temple within the pyramid. Find out more

INAH specialists discover remains of a temple inside the Teopanzolco pyramid, in Morelos. Photo: Melitón Tapia, INAH

8 – Roman decapitated and crushed by block of stone while fleeing eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii

Archaeologists made the discovery at the Pompeii archaeological park at the crossroads of Vicolo delle Nozze d’Argento and the recently unearthed Vicolo dei Balconi, which extends towards Via di Nola. Initial studies suggest that the individual survived the first eruptive phase of the volcano, and subsequently sought salvation along the alley now covered in a thick layer of lapilli. In the ensuing pyroclastic eruptions, the victim’s thorax was crushed by a large block of stone that was violently thrown by the volcanic cloud. Find out more

Image Credit : Parco Archeologico di Pompei

9 – Rare German U-boat found in Skagerrak

The Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn, Denmark announced the discovery of the German U-boat U-3523, which was sunk by depth bombs in Skagerrak by a British B24 Liberator aircraft on 6 May, 1945. Find out more

Image Credit: .seawarmuseum

10 – Cuneiform tablets from Bassetki reveal location of ancient royal city of Mardaman

Translations of Assyrian writings found by archaeologists from the University of Tübingen have yielded a secret lost to history: The place where the clay tablets were found – Bassetki, in Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq – appears to be the ancient royal city of Mardaman. Find out more

The Bassetki tell – Image Credit : Matthias Lang/ Benjamin Glissmann, University of Tübingen

 

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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